Coronation Street has issued a statement following complaints made about the levels of violence in last Friday's double bill.
Shock scenes saw hostage Andy Carver shoot fellow captive Vinny Ashford, only to then be murdered himself by kidnapper Pat Phelan.
Both bodies were then disposed of by Phelan in a nearby lake.
The killings were broadcast before the 9.00pm watershed, with a warning made prior to transmission.
Comments left on RadioTimes.com's Facebook page included such feedback as:
"It was disgusting. I am going to complain to ITV. I have never done this before but I feel sick it was shown before 9pm."
Another site user added: "Very disappointing. Not suitable before 9pm."
Coronation Street has featured storylines featuring murderers and villains before - Richard Hillman and Alan Bradley being among the most notorious evildoers.
But the general consensus among viewers was that last night's episodes featured scenes of threat at an intensity not previously witnessed.
Responding today, an ITV spokesperson said: "Coronation Street has always been recognised for its mix of drama and comedy, as well as hard hitting storylines.
"Phelan has already been established as a villain in a long line of murderous Coronation Street villains and so his actions, evil though they are, won’t have come as a surprise to viewers.
"In addition the programme is always careful to limit the level of violence actually shown to a minimum to convey the drama and tell the story.
"And, of course, one day, Phelan will get his comeuppance and justice will be done.
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